Last week Jessica and I made a four day trip over to the island of Moloka`i, a place we had not visited before.
Moloka`i lies to the east of Oahu and northwest of Maui. 75% of the island’s 7,440 residents are Native Hawai`ian, thus the island is known as more traditional. Due to its mixed climate, a lot it rather dry, it is far less on the tourism trail, with few hotels and other places to stay.
We flew an island hopper Cessna Caravan with Mokulele Airlines.
The tradewinds flying along the north side of Maui were ripping from the northeast.
One important part of the traditional Hawai`ian coastal landscape is the fish pond. You can see one in the featured image of the post, which is the southeast shore of the island. Fish ponds are ‘capture and culture’ aquaculture, using the natural coastal features, with human built walls of volcanic rock and coral with control gates to let ocean born fish in and out with the tides. Fish ponds in Hawai`ian culture were first started on Moloka`i. There are many large, active and inactive fish ponds on Moloka`i. Note the two ponds in the photograph below.
Moloka`i has a well developed fringing reef on its southern shoreline, unique in the islands in that it is a broad shallow shelf extend much farther into the ocean.
The island has an east-west axis, the tradewinds piling up clouds and moisture on its east and northern sides, with dry landscapes right down to the shoreline on the south side.
We stayed in a condo complex on the southeastern shore, and you can see the morning cloud buildup on the central mountain ridge in the panorama photo above.
Our first foray was to the dry west end of the island, much of which is in a large cattle ranch established by early missionary families.
It does not look like a place where cattle would thrive or be a good thing for the landscape, and we saw lots of gully and hillside sheet erosion. There is a shuttered resort also owned by this ranch, giving a ghost-town feel to the village of Maunaloa.
There are some long sandy beaches on the west end of the island, but we did not linger as the tradewinds were sandblasting the shoreline, here at Papohaku beach.
Ironwood forests fringe the beaches along the west end giving the impression you are somewhere else, like the dry tropical forests of Africa!
On the drive back we stopped at the overlook of the Kalaupapa peninsula, a dramatic oceanic volcanic feature on the north-central coast of the island with an even more dramatic social history. But that is for another post!